Many years of experience has shown me that there are a lot of people in careers that don’t fulfil them or make them happy. But when asked what they would like to do instead it’s clear that they just don’t know. Does this sound familiar to you too?
Perhaps you have, like many people, until now left your career to chance – you may have said or heard others say “I just fell into my job”. And for some people that works well and is just fine. However, if it doesn’t work for you then it doesn’t have to be this way.
With some thought and dedication you can find career options that suit your personality, interests and strengths. It’s never too late to make a change although it does require you to take action – simply making a decision and sitting on it will not get you to where you want to be any day soon. So, planned, focused action is the order of the day!
The first thing to recognise is that in order to make the right career choice you will need to go back to basics and remind yourself of who you really are and what makes you tick. You will need to explore and rediscover the things that are important to you in your career and home life, your interests, your strengths, skills, experience and personality traits.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the best way to find satisfaction in a job is to do what you love doing. Funny thing is that when we do a job that we love we find we are not only good at it but it doesn’t feel like work at all! I’d say, it’s worth your effort and time to get to feel this way. So, go explore and discover the right career for you.
These 5 exercises will get you started….
Exercise 1:The things that are important to you – your values
A value is something to which you attach importance. They make you who you are. Values are essentially subjective because it is you alone who accords significance to your values. Here are some typical values: fairness, integrity, commitment, achievement, contribution, faith, peace of mind, honesty, respect, security, status, openness, environment.
Our values are the often-unconscious drivers that underpin all our responses, actions and decisions. When we are honouring our values in our daily lives, we feel congruent and at peace. When we are not, we can feel uneasy and unfulfilled.
As adults grow older and accumulate life experience, their values often change. If you are 55, for example, your values may be quite different from those you had at 25. Your values are a product of your temperament and experience. With that experience you can also prioritise and discard values as circumstances change. Re-examining your values can be an important part of making a successful career transition.
And when you design your life and career based on your values, your motivation will greatly increased and your chances of success and fulfilment improve hugely.
Identify your Top Five Values and refer back to these as you explore your career options.
Exercise 2: Your Personality And What It Means For Your Career
Research has shown that different personality types tend to have distinct preferences in their choice of careers. Perhaps pretty obvious but it makes it important to learn more about your personality and come to a better understanding of your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses.
You can visit www.personalitypage.com and for $5 you can undertaken an online self-assessment which considers different career choices depending upon your personality along with some suggestions for possible directions. The learning from this self-assessment will help you make the right career choices and if you have the opportunity to share this with your coach or mentor then you will gain even more insights.
Exercise 3: Your Interests and Passions
When we do what we feel passionate about, we lose ourselves, feel totally motivated, and often do it very well. This exercise will help you identify what you’re passionate about.
Write your answers to the following questions:
How do you use your leisure time?
What are you passionate about now?
What inspires you these days?
What did you love doing when you were aged 7, 13, 18, 24?
What were you doing when you became so absorbed that you didn’t notice the passing of time?
Select those interests and passions which have the potential to get your pulse racing today and use them to guide your career direction.
Exercise 4: Know Your Strengths
WWW.Strengthsfinder.com is a really useful website that partners the book. “ Now Discover Your Strengths”. There is a self-assessment that helps to uncover your top 5 strengths. Information on careers which may suit each of your 5 strengths is provided along with ideas for action. The self-awareness you gain from the self-assessment can form the basis of a great career discussion with your coach or mentor.
Exercise 5: New Ideas Bank
Having come this far you will, hopefully, have lots of ideas and information in your head. Well, here is an idea for a way to bring all of that together. This is a space where you can capture any career possibilities that come up throughout the next few weeks. Ideas can come from magazines, the internet, words and songs that inspire you, photographs, job boards, childhood ambitions, hobbies and interests – be creative and get involved. Be sure to include all ideas that you are reminded of from time gone by.
You are going to create a New Ideas Bank in the form of a box or other container, a folder, binder, a scrap book, vision board, collage or anything else that works for you. Put in the Bank all the ideas you have had from magazines, the internet, words from songs, photos, job boards, recalled childhood ambitions, hobbies and interests.
Be creative and non-judgemental. However mild, however wild the ideas – do not judge them but just put them in the New Ideas Bank and when you are ready you can look for patterns and pull your ideas together into work themes. It will help you identify your new career direction and options.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, it is one of a series that we explore further in our FREE fortnightly webinars. If you would like to find out more and register for the first webinar in the series you can do so here: How to find the right career for you and be successful webinar